[ExI] shops opening

Dylan Distasio interzone at gmail.com
Mon Apr 20 17:00:11 UTC 2020

On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 12:45 PM John Clark via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 11:14 AM Dylan Distasio via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> *> There's a new bug, *
> Yes it's new, nobody has seen anything like it before so our knowledge of
> it is slight. You keep assuming that things are really better than they
> seem, well maybe so, but maybe things are worse than they seem.

It's not true that we haven't seen anything like it.   It appears to be
another coronavirus similar to SARS (and thankfully dissimilar to MERS).
I'm not assuming anything, I'm looking at a number of data points and
preprints and coming up with my best guess like everyone else.  I'm not
pulling my hypothesis out of thin air or how I want things to be.

>> *> 1,580 people have died, and their economy for the most part is still
>> open. *
> Yes 1,580 people have died in Sweden, and the population of Sweden is 32
> times smaller than the population of the USA. And Sweden's death numbers
> double every 8 days. How long will that rate of doubling continue? Nobody
> knows because as you say this is a new bug, and in Sweden's case there is
> the complication that some think extreme cold slows the spread of the virus
> and Sweden is currently very cold. Summer is coming.

Some people think summer will be good for it dying off.  Australia has very
few cases of it, yet tons of traffic with Asia and China.  I don't believe
that Australia has been any more effective at containing it than anywhere
else, yet their counts remain very low.

>> *> What is your end game here, John, if you were running the show?   *
> I have no magical end game solution that does not involve a tragic amount
> of economic pain and human death, all we can do is try to minimize it the
> best we can.

Don't you think there needs to be a balance between economic pain and human
death?  How long are you willing to keep the economy shuttered,
particularly in states with very low current counts (likely due to
population density).

>> *> There is a real possibility that there will not be an effective
>> vaccine developed for t*his.
> I'm not as pessimistic as you are. Given the fact that the virus doesn't
> mutate much and most people form antibodies and recover I think it's very
> unlikely that a vaccine can not be found, but if I'm wrong and a prevention
> or an effective treatment turns out to be as difficult as with cancer then
> we'd just have to accept a permanent and significant reduction of the human
> lifespan and of our standard of living. But right now we're a hell of a
> long way from that point of desperation.

I'm not pessimistic about a vaccine, John, but I'm not optimistic about one
either.  Coronavirus vaccines are not an easy task even if you assume that
there is a stable antigenic target.   Prior vaccine attempts have resulted
in very nasty inflammatory responses in a subset of those innoculated.  I
would guess that is going to be a challenge here, and you won't find me
personally going near a CV-19 vaccine for quite some time.  I certainly
won't be first in line to get one, I can tell you that.   Either way
though, I hope your optimism is warranted, and we get one, but I think
economic policy should assume we don't get one, not that we do.
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